The Curly Girl Method: Made Simple
Jul 29, 2022 | By Maria Eliza Pineda
The curly girl method was created by Lorraine Massey in her book “Curly Girl: The Handbook” as a specific hair care routine designed for those with naturally curly or wavy hair. People have been loving the results of the curly girl method because it defines the curls in the hair amazingly, keeps your hair healthy, and it allows people to embrace the beauty of their naturally curly hair.
The curly girl method has turned into more of a social movement now rather than just a simple grooming routine. This method has boosted many women’s self-esteem and helped them be proud of their natural curls. Curls are now being praised instead of hidden and shamed. Instead of damaging their hair with harsh chemical treatments and heat styling frequently to hide their natural texture, curly girls are now wearing their natural hair loud and proud. It’s a beautiful thing and we love to see it!
However, it’s no secret that the curly girl method isn’t exactly that simple. It has a lot of rules and steps that some people may find too high-maintenance and inconvenient. After all, we don’t all have hundreds of dollars and two hours to spend on our hair regularly. So, is there any way we can simplify the curly girl method and still get the same results? I’ve tried out numerous combinations and guinea pigged myself to find out what works best.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way on how you can still get great results from the curly girl method without breaking the bank and spending too much of your precious time:
Switch to Sulfate-Free
The curly girl method is all about cutting out harsh ingredients in your hair care routine that may be causing damage to your hair. When hair is damaged, the natural curl pattern is warped and your hair won’t curl properly. Sulfates are one of the most common ingredients in shampoos that cause damage to hair with regular use.
The curly girl method suggests using a co-wash for regular use to keep your locks moisturized, but if you don’t really want to add another thing to your shower routine and just want the feeling of a clean scalp and voluminous roots, just go with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. A sulfate-free shampoo won’t damage your hair or strip it of too much moisture but it will still give you that nice cleanse that you want.
To be honest with you, I have forgone conditioners altogether! Now, I don’t guarantee that this method will work for everyone, but it has definitely worked for me. I use natural oils such as argan oil, coconut oil, or olive oil as a pre-shampoo treatment. My favorite is argan oil and I just slather that all over the length of my hair before wash day. The best results are when I leave it on overnight and wash my hair the next day, but leaving it on for an hour or so also works.
The curly girl method suggests that you use a silicon-free conditioner because silicones are notorious for causing buildup in your hair. The only thing that can really cleanse it out is sulfates. So, it’s a vicious cycle of just stripping the hair and causing buildup again. Not a very healthy routine. By cutting silicones from your routine, you won’t need harsh sulfate detergents to get out the buildup. You can use a gentler sulfate-free shampoo that will strip away the excess oils but still keep the moisture in your hair.
Detangle When Wet
If you’re a curly girl and you’ve tried brushing your hair when it’s dry, then you already know the dreaded hair pyramid of frizz. When you brush your curls, the curls disappear, the frizz takes over and you’ve got yourself a Hermione type of situation. It’s also easier to run a comb or brush through wet hair because of the slip the water gives. Make sure to detangle from the bottom up to avoid creating major tangles and do it very gently as wet hair is more likely to break than dry hair. Use a wide-tooth comb or a loose detangling brush. You can detangle either in the shower while you are conditioning or you can also do it right after you’ve gotten out and run some leave-in conditioner or oil through your hair to give it some extra slip.
Moisturize and Scrunch
Moisture is a very important factor in the curly girl method and with whatever moisturizing step you have, you need to pair it with the scrunching method! Whether you are conditioning in the shower or applying either your leave-in or oil, you need to scrunch it in your hair while it is still very damp. This helps the product penetrate your cuticle better and it also encourages definition in your curls. After detangling, form your curl clumps by scrunching the product into your hair. You should hear that “squish” sound when you do it.
Get it to Hold
Now for the last styling product you are going to use: gel. I recommend a flaxseed gel to get rid of the frizz and put a very light hold on your curls. You don’t really want your hair to get that crunchy quality that you get with a lot of drugstore hair gels, so you want something that’s light hold and still feels soft. Flaxseed gel is pretty easy to make, just boil some flax seeds in a little bit of water until the mixture thickens and strain out the seeds. Not only will it give your hair some hold, but it will also improve its overall quality.
Check this video out to see the effects of regular use of flaxseed gel on the hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_h4Jj-RYrk
Use the Sock Method
The most convenient method of drying hair is definitely just air drying but it’s certainly not the fastest way. The quickest way to dry curly hair without causing frizz is to diffuse it with a blowdryer. If you have a diffuser attachment, then you can go on ahead and start drying your hair with that! But if you’re like me and you’ve lost your diffuser attachment ages ago, then you can start by attaching a sock at the end of your hairdryer. Make sure that it’s a thin material that air can easily pass through so that your hairdryer doesn’t overheat. This hack makes a homemade diffuser that will dry your hair but filter the harsh air that causes frizz. Don’t forget to use the cool setting!
Minimize Heat Styling
The magic of the curly girl method comes from its overall goal of making the hair healthier. That means less damaging habits, more nourishing products, and definitely less heat styling. Some people give it up altogether and kudos to you for that! That is the best thing for your hair. However, we can’t deny that it’s definitely fun to experiment with glamorous curls and silky flat hair. If you’re going to do this, make sure that you minimize the heat damage by only doing one pass over your locks. You can also experiment with numerous no-heat styling techniques that produce great results!